A storm on the dock is nothing like a storm at sea. Sometimes it may actually be worse than a storm at anchor or on the ocean because you’re tied to a dock and can’t move naturally, so a sailboat’s motion changes and gets jerked around quite a bit. Interesting motion when you’re living on the boat with two small kids and a Great Dane onboard, with rain and high winds predicted, but really high winds not expected. Here in Southern California, storms are generally pretty mellow and although they can dump some good rain, they’re usually predictable. Yesterday’s weather pattern wasn’t that usual So Cal storm. The wind clocked around to come from the South and increased to 30-40 mile an hour gusts with heavy rain coming in on top of the wind.
Hotwife and Pirate Kate had taken themselves to Newport to attend the 2019 Sailing Convention for Women and left me to babysit (I mean parent) the kids and dog. Pretty awesome with bad weather predicted and the dog on board…very few places to take a wet Great Dane in San Diego that will smile kindly at you and understand. So we hung out on the boat most of the day. Good thing we did this, cause I would have been uncomfortable away from the boat in this weather. As it was (of course) I was a lot more worried about the weather than the boat, the dog or the kids. The kids simply tucked into their boat home with a book, iPad or the Grinch movie and only occasionally noticed when the boat was heeled at extreme angles due to the high wind gusts. Quincy the Boat Great Dane was even more sedate. The boat was Rocking and Rolling on the lines and fenders inside our slip and occasionally heeling nearly to the water, but Quincy didn’t mind. Once her blanket was applied, she didn’t really move…even when I needed to get through after fixing lines or fenders she really didn’t want to move. Here’s her in the spot, taking life in stride:
As for me….I’m old school and don’t have too many gimmicks. I figured my lines would break at the highest point of strain and I added backup lines to those spots. I also added fenders on the leeward side of the boat to keep that side off the dock edges. Some of the older salts will look at these photos and probably spot what I’ve done wrong….but I don’t care, cause if something had broken, I was backed up. I have a “prep for the worst and hope for the best” mentality from my days working with JOSAR on the High Angle Rescue Team and other endeavors. Here’s Tulum BEFORE the really high winds and rains hit us, with her backup lines on and me still looking for things to tie down:
Tulum came through this tiny squall fine, but we learned that our docklines have a lot of stretch and needed the extra fenders on the leeward side to keep her off the dock completely. Also learned the dog isn’t really afraid of big wind and rain like we thought, but requires her Elk blanket to get really comfy.
Quincy says: “Storms and Squalls come and go. The boat did just fine and we learned a few things that will help to make her better and us prepped for more squalls. There’s also squalls in life; try to take them in stride and put out an extra dock line to back yourself up and things will turn out ok”. Here she is on the bow, making sure I get my pre-squall prep done.
Have a good Sunday. FYI, for those of you suffering from the cold somewhere in the Mid-West or the East Coast of the US….we’re now more than halfway through Winter and things should start warming up, eventually.